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Events at the Mechanics' Institute

Book Group Meetings - First Wednesday Mystery Group
Wednesday, July 01, 2015 - 6:00pm

Mr. Churchill's Secretary: A Maggie Hope Mystery

by Susan Elia MacNeal

London, 1940. Winston Churchill has just been sworn in, war rages across the Channel, and the threat of a Blitz looms. Maggie Hope graduated at the top of her college class and possesses all the skills of the finest minds in British intelligence, but her gender qualifies her only to be the newest typist at No. 10 Downing Street. Her indefatigable spirit and remarkable gifts for codebreaking, though, rival those of even the highest men in government, and Maggie finds that working for the prime minister affords her a level of clearance (and opportunities) she could never have imagined. It also exposes her to the machinations of a menacing faction determined to do whatever it takes to change the course of history.

Ensnared in a web of spies, murder, and intrigue, Maggie must work fast to balance her duty to King and Country with her chances for survival. And when she unravels a mystery that points toward her own family’s hidden secrets, she’ll discover that her quick wits are all that stand between an assassin’s murderous plan and Churchill himself.

Members Only; Free
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No registration required.

Meet the Author(s)
Thursday, July 09, 2015 - 6:00pm

Selected Letters of Langston Hughes

Editor Arnold Rampersad in conversation with Journalist Elaine Elinson

The life and times of this great American writer is explored by Professor Rampersad, Senior Associate Dean for the Humanities at Stanford University, and activist and journalist Elaine Elinson.

Members of Mechanics' Institute Free
Public $15

Activities
Friday, July 10, 2015 - 2:00pm

San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour with special emphasis on Willis Polk

Take a tour of San Francisco’s most famous downtown buildings with knowledgeable and friendly city historian Rick Evans!

Members & Public $40

CinemaLit Films
Friday, July 10, 2015 - 6:00pm

Carnival in Flanders (1935)

July 2015: Musicals and Amusements

The wily women of a small Flemish village circa 1616 welcome a Spanish duke and his troops in this delicious French-language romantic farce.

Members - Free
Public - $10 (suggested donation)

Book Group Meetings - Brown Bag Mystery Readers
Monday, July 13, 2015 - 12:00pm

The Murders in the Rue Morgue

by Edgar Allan Poe

The Murders in the Rue Morgue is thought to be the first modern detective story, published by Edgar Allan Poe in 1841. In this classic tale the detective demonstrates the ineptitude of the police, the value of reason, and how it’s the seemingly least important details that often matter most. A landmark in the history of detective fiction.

Members Only; Free
More information
No registration required.

Activities
Tuesday, July 14, 2015 - 12:30pm

Bastille Day Celebration

A French Café Concert with Trio Gadjo - Jazz with a French Twist!

Kick off Bastille Day with a delicious noon time “repas” and the marvelous music of Trio Gadjo featuring Isabelle Fontaine and Jeff Magidson on guitars with Sam Rocha on bass.

Members of Mechanics' Institute $15
Public $25
Admission includes Plat du Jour

Activities
Wednesday, July 15, 2015 - 3:00pm

Museum Tour of Odd Fellows Lodge Hall

Join Mechanics’ Institute Librarian Taryn Edwards and long time Odd Fellow and Historian Pete Sellars on a tour of the Odd Fellows Hall and museum exhibit.

Members of Mechanics' Institute Only - Free

Classes
Thursday, July 16, 2015 - 5:30pm to 6:30pm

Ancestry Library Edition

Want to research your family history? Now’s your chance with our new subscription to the Ancestry database which provides access to billions of records in census data, vital records, directories, photos, and more. The class will provide tips on searching and how to decipher the records, and plenty of time for hands-on practice.

Members Only - Free

Activities
Saturday, July 18, 2015 - 10:00am

San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour with special emphasis on Willis Polk

Take a tour of San Francisco’s most famous downtown buildings with knowledgeable and friendly city historian Rick Evans!

Members & Public $40

Book Group Meetings - Good Reads Book Group
Tuesday, July 21, 2015 - 12:00pm

On Such a Full Sea

by Chang-Rae Lee

B-Mor is a rigorously ordered labor settlement founded in what used to be Baltimore by refugees from impossibly polluted New China. They grow stringently regulated food for the elite, who live in gated charter villages, surrounded by open counties, in which civilization has collapsed under the assaults of a pandemic and an ever-harsher climate. In a third-person plural narrative voice that perfectly embodies the brutal and wistful communities he portrays, Lee tells the mythic story of young, small, yet mighty Fan, a breath-held diver preternaturally at home among the farmed fish she tends to. When her boyfriend inexplicably disappears, Fan escapes from B-Mor to search for him, embarking on a daring, often surreal quest in a violent, blighted world.

Members Only; Free
More information
No registration required.

Activities
Thursday, July 23, 2015 - 6:00pm

The Grand Design: PPIE and the "City Within A City"

Panel discussion moderated by Laura A. Ackley, with Gray Brechin, Kerry Laitala, Therese Poletti, and Christopher VerPlanck

Architectural historians, writers, and artists will discuss the collaboration of Edward Bennett and the Exposition’s architectural committee whose vision of the Block Plan manifested the design of the PPIE.

Members & Public Free

Activities
Friday, July 24, 2015 - 2:00pm

San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour with special emphasis on Willis Polk

Take a tour of San Francisco’s most famous downtown buildings with knowledgeable and friendly city historian Rick Evans!

Members & Public $40

CinemaLit Films
Friday, July 24, 2015 - 6:00pm

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

July 2015: Musicals and Amusements

A delightfully imaginative musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s tale of a reclusive chocolatier who guides five young winners on a tour of his fantastic operation.

Members - Free
Public - $10 (suggested donation)

Meet the Author(s)
Thursday, July 30, 2015 - 6:00pm

The Rainman’s Third Cure: An Irregular Education

An evening with author Peter Coyote

Inspired by Bob Dylan’s lyrics, Peter Coyote’s new memior comes to grip with the competing forces of his life.

Members of Mechanics' Institute Free
Public $15

Activities
Friday, July 31, 2015 - 2:00pm

San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour with special emphasis on Willis Polk

Take a tour of San Francisco’s most famous downtown buildings with knowledgeable and friendly city historian Rick Evans!

Members & Public $40

Activities
Saturday, August 01, 2015 - 10:00am

San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour with special emphasis on Willis Polk

Take a tour of San Francisco’s most famous downtown buildings with knowledgeable and friendly city historian Rick Evans!

Members & Public $40

Activities
Monday, August 03, 2015 - 6:00pm

Mechanics’ Institute Tour @ Night

If you are a new, long-time, or prospective member the Tour of the Institute will orient you to our building, include an overview of our history and mission, and outline our current services and the benefits of membership.

Members & Public Free
More information
No registration required.

Book Group Meetings - First Wednesday Mystery Group
Wednesday, August 05, 2015 - 6:00pm

Unnatural Death: A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery

by Dorothy Sayers

Though never quick-witted, Agatha Dawson had an iron constitution and a will to fight that never abated in her old age. Even after three operations failed to rid her of her cancer, she refused to give in. But as her body began to weaken, she accused lawyers, nurses, and doctors of trying to kill her and snatch her fortune. The town physician, an expert in cancer, gives her six months to live. Three days later, she is dead.

Though the autopsy reveals nothing surprising, the doctor suspects that Agatha’s niece had some hand in the old woman’s death. When Lord Peter Wimsey, the dashing gentleman detective, looks into the matter, he finds that death stalks all those who might testify. How can he continue his investigation when every question marks another innocent for murder?

Members Only; Free
More information
No registration required.

CinemaLit Films
Friday, August 07, 2015 - 6:00pm

Top Hat (1935)

August 2015: Musicals and Amusements

A star-crossed (and deliriously talented) couple falls in love from London to Venice, aided and abetted by Irving Berlin's songs.

Members - Free
Public - $10 (suggested donation)

Book Group Meetings - Brown Bag Mystery Readers
Monday, August 10, 2015 - 12:00pm

Spider Woman's Daughter

by Anne Hillerman


Navajo Nation Police Officer Bernadette Manualito witnesses the cold-blooded shooting of someone very close to her. With the victim fighting for his life, the entire squad and the local FBI office are hell-bent on catching the gunman. Bernie, too, wants in on the investigation, despite regulations forbidding eyewitness involvement. But that doesn't mean she's going to sit idly by, especially when her husband, Sergeant Jim Chee, is in charge of finding the shooter. Bernie and Chee discover that a cold case involving his former boss and partner, retired Inspector Joe Leaphorn, may hold the key. Digging into the old investigation, husband and wife find themselves inching closer to the truth...and closer to a killer determined to prevent justice from taking its course.

Members Only; Free
More information
No registration required.

Book Group Meetings - Good Reads Book Group
Tuesday, August 18, 2015 - 12:00pm

Little Failure

by Gary Shteyngart

Little Failure is the all too true story of an immigrant family betting its future on America, as told by a lifelong misfit who finally finds a place for himself in the world through books and words. In 1979, a little boy dragging a ginormous fur hat and an overcoat made from the skin of some Soviet woodland creature steps off the plane at New York's JFK International Airport and into his new American life. His troubles are just beginning. For the former Igor Shteyngart, coming to the United States from the Soviet Union is like stumbling off a monochromatic cliff and landing in a pool of Technicolor.

Members Only; Free
More information
No registration required.

CinemaLit Films
Friday, August 21, 2015 - 6:00pm

The Illusionist (2006)

August 2015: Musicals and Amusements

In this deeply satisfying sleight-of-hand, a magician in turn-of-the-century Vienna schemes to save an old flame from her all-powerful fiance.

Members - Free
Public - $10 (suggested donation)

Book Group Meetings - First Wednesday Mystery Group
Wednesday, September 02, 2015 - 6:00pm

Smilla’s Sense of Snow

by Peter Høeg

She thinks more highly of snow and ice than she does of love. She lives in a world of numbers, science and memories--a dark, exotic stranger in a strange land. And now Smilla Jaspersen is convinced she has uncovered a shattering crime. It happened in the Copenhagen snow. A six-year-old boy, a Greenlander like Smilla, fell to his death from the top of his apartment building. While the boy's body is still warm, the police pronounce his death an accident. But Smilla knows her young neighbor didn't fall from the roof on his own. Soon she is following a path of clues as clear to her as footsteps in the snow. For her dead neighbor, and for herself, she must embark on a harrowing journey of lies, revelation and violence that will take her back to the world of ice and snow from which she comes, where an explosive secret waits beneath the ice.

Members Only; Free
More information
No registration required.

Book Group Meetings - Proust - In Search of Lost Time
Repeats every 2 weeks every Wednesday 2 times .
Wednesday, September 09, 2015 - 5:30pm to 6:30pm

The Proust Group

"In Search of Lost Time"
Members $70
Public $100

Book Group Meetings - Brown Bag Mystery Readers
Monday, September 14, 2015 - 12:00pm

The Chinese Gold Murders

by Robert van Gulik

In this, the second book in Robert van Gulik's classic mystery series of ancient China, Judge Dee must look into the murder of his predecessor. His job is complicated by the simultaneous disappearance of his chief clerk and the new bride of a wealthy local shipowner. Meanwhile, a tiger is terrorizing the district, the ghost of the murdered magistrate stalks the tribunal, a prostitute has a secret message for Dee, and the body of a murdered monk is discovered to be in the wrong grave. In the end, the judge, with his deft powers of deduction, uncovers the one cause for all of these seemingly unrelated events.

Members Only; Free
More information
No registration required.

Book Group Meetings - Good Reads Book Group
Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - 12:00pm

Boy, Snow, Bird

by Helen Oyeyemi

From the prizewinning author of Mr. Fox, the Snow White fairy tale brilliantly recast as a story of family secrets, race, beauty, and vanity. In the winter of 1953, Boy Novak arrives by chance in a small town in Massachusetts, looking, she believes, for beauty - the opposite of the life she's left behind in New York. She marries a local widower and becomes stepmother to his winsome daughter, Snow Whitman. A wicked stepmother is a creature Boy never imagined she'd become, but elements of the familiar tale of aesthetic obsession begin to play themselves out when the birth of Boy's daughter, Bird, who is dark-skinned, exposes the Whitmans as light-skinned African Americans passing for white. Among them, Boy, Snow, and Bird confront the tyranny of the mirror to ask how much power surfaces really hold. Dazzlingly inventive and powerfully moving, Boy, Snow, Bird is an astonishing and enchanting novel.

Members Only; Free
More information
No registration required.

Book Group Meetings - Forgotten Classics
Thursday, September 17, 2015 - 6:00pm

The Red Badge of Courage

by Stephen Crane

Henry Fleming, a private in the Union Army, runs away from the field of war. Afterwards, the shame he feels at this act of cowardice ignites his desire to receive an injury in combat — a "red badge of courage" — that will redeem him. Stephen Crane's novel about a young soldier's experiences during the American Civil War is well known for its understated naturalism and its realistic depiction of battle.

Members only; Free

Book Group Meetings - Proust - In Search of Lost Time
Wednesday, September 09, 2015 - 5:30pm to 6:30pm

The Proust Group

"In Search of Lost Time"
Members $70
Public $100